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Messages - nateo

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I would be incredibly careful adding nutrients, if you do. Wort has a really high level of yeast available nitrogen (relative to any other growth medium). Too much nutrient will cause off-flavors, and if you add too much at the wrong time and the yeast can't use it all, it could potentially feed bacteria.

Adding O2 multiple times keeps the yeast in growth mode. They make like 33x more alcohol per cell during the growth phase than during the stationary phase. This is related to incremental feeding of nitrogen, but again, be careful not to overdo it.

I have always wondered about the whole incremental feeding thing, not understanding how it helps to feed incrementally when the net effect is the same level of alcohol. But if it's an issue of osmotic presure that makes sense to me. as the gravity goes down you can add more sugar without exceeding the presure threshold! thanks nateo!

Whether or not osmotic pressure matters really depends on the health of the cell walls, but even healthy cells have trouble over 1.120. I've read (don't remember where) that osmotic pressure inhibits fermentation even down at like 1.060 if the yeast have poor cell membranes. The pressure will literally squeeze nutrients out of the yeast, like squeezing a wet sponge, only instead of water, nitrogen comes out, inhibiting their fermentation performance.

All Grain Brewing / Re: multi-batch, combined fermentation question
« on: March 13, 2012, 09:58:32 AM »
AFAIK, the main reason pro brewers do what you're talking about is that it simplifies yeast propagation. It's easier to grown enough yeast for 1bbl than 10bbl.

I don't see any particular problem with this. I'm a big fan of incremental feeding in general. I wouldn't aerate the subsequent wort you add. The yeast should be done growing by then.

I'm also time-poor, since I have to work 12+ hours a day, almost every day. I'm considering going back to extract and steeping grains just to get more brewing done.

I would consider doing incremental feedings. Osmotic pressure starts to be an issue around 1.120.

If I were going to brew a beer that big, I'd start it at whatever OG I could easily get, let it ferment a good bit, then add malt extract to make up the difference in gravity. It will be kinder for your yeast and easier to achieve.

I would also use a good amount of simple sugar, maybe 10-15% of fermentables. Attenuation is going to be your biggest issue with a beer like that.

Here's the link Hopfen was talking about. That page was a godsend when I started making bigger beers. Before I found that my big beers sucked.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Batch 500
« on: March 13, 2012, 07:00:47 AM »
have you malted your own grain yet? what about growing it? there is no last big step. it just keeps going. up and I don't know where it's going to stop!!!!

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Going Pro / Re: Looking into starting a meadery
« on: March 12, 2012, 03:17:39 PM »
I contacted the Missouri Wine Advisory Board. They weren't helpful. I got ahold of someone at the main office for the state Alcohol Control division, and he was really helpful. That guy said that it's the position of his agency that statutes take precedent over regulations, and that if state law says I can use honey in my winery, then it doesn't matter if the regulations don't specifically state that I can.

He also told me that my county health inspector is the one who will actually be inspecting the facility, and as long as they're happy with the facility, the state is happy. It seems like the state doesn't particularly care about regulating. Yay, Missouri!

Equipment and Software / Re: Food-grade buckets at Lowes
« on: March 12, 2012, 11:09:04 AM »
I brew 3 gallon batches also, perhaps I should look into these here buckets.  I'd probably have to drill out the lid though for an airlock...hmmmmm.

My LHBS in Colorado had lids that were predrilled and grommeted. The LHBS here just drills a hole in the lid for you, and they have little rubber stoppers for it. Not quite as elegant as the grommet, but it works fine and is easy to clean.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Crazy pH drop during fermentation
« on: March 12, 2012, 09:52:47 AM »
I'm evaluating 71B's performance with hard v soft water, and also evaluating K1V, RC212, and Red Star Cote Des Blanc, and Premier Cuvee (with soft water). I plan on doing some more trials later with R2 and BM45, but my LHBS didn't have them in stock.

So far, it seems the pH drop is at least partially yeast dependent. I don't have a way to quantify how I'm degassing. I just swirl it around for about 30seconds. So the varying pH readings I'm getting from the different yeasts might just be operator error.

Also, the one jug with hard water had the closest thing to Krausen of the 6. I'm not sure how the water affected that. Maybe more nucleation sites or something?

I'm only on day 5 so far, but fermentation should be winding down soon. Most of the musts were around 1.010 as of yesterday.

Going Pro / Re: Financials and Investors
« on: March 12, 2012, 05:32:07 AM »
I remember reading about when New Belgium started up. The original guy was convinced that his Abbey ale was going to be huge. He took it to all kinds of festivals and events, and couldn't give the stuff away. Then Fat Tire happened, and we all know the rest of the story.

So it's good to have plans. It's better to have backup plans as well.

In addition to making good beer, you need to make beer people like. I'm frequently surprised by which (IMO mediocre) beers I make that get a lot of positive response, and which beers, that I think are great, don't.

Equipment and Software / Re: Food-grade buckets at Lowes
« on: March 11, 2012, 08:06:15 AM »
liberal republican

I thought those were extinct. Maybe you're just endangered.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Crazy pH drop during fermentation
« on: March 11, 2012, 07:28:06 AM »
Water high in bicarbonates helps this, according to Steve Piatz.  Some add KCO3 to keep the pH in the range the yeast like.  A mix-stir is used when the nutrients go in, to aerate and to knock out the CO2.  Getting the CO2 out will also help the pH stay up.

I think it would take a lot of CO3 to get the pH into the proper range. It took a lot of Ca(OH)2, and that's a much stronger base than KCO3.

I wasn't surprised that the pH dropped, but I was amazed at how far it dropped, and how quickly it dropped. I think a lot of the stuck ferments homebrewers run into when making mead, wine, cider (and maybe beer?) could be due to low fermentation pH shocking the yeast.

I was thinking about how a lot of people add yeast to stuck ferments, and it made me think of locking a puppy in a hot car. The puppy died, and instead of rolling down the windows, you just shove more puppies in there, and hope one of them doesn't die.

Yeast and Fermentation / Crazy pH drop during fermentation
« on: March 10, 2012, 05:36:57 PM »
I'm doing six 3L fermentation trials for mead right now, comparing different strains, trying my hand at Curt Stock's Even-speed-mead method, and also the effect of very hard water on mead. I'll do a more detailed write-up later, but the initial results were shocking.

OG: 1.050
500g honey
2g yeast (properly rehydrated)

A1 - 71B with hard water (400ppm CaCO3)
A2 - 71B with lime-softened water (50ppm CaCO3)

Day 0
Added 0.65g Fermaid K to both
Added 0.30g DAP

A1 pH - 5.9
A2 pH - 5.8

Day 1

Day 2 - SG: 1.030
Added 0.65g Fermaid
Added 0.30g DAP

A1 pH - 2.3. Added 1tbsp+1/2tsp of 5% calcium hydroxide solution, which raised the pH to 3.7
A2 pH - 1.8. Added 3tbsp of 5% lime solution, which raised the pH to 3.8

I degassed the samples by shaking them repeatedly in a mason jar, and also by letting them sit out for a few hours. I calibrated my pH meter was calibrated twice, to 7 and 4, because I didn't believe my results.

I really didn't expect the pH to fall that much that quickly. I'm not surprised at all that most mead fermentations take months to finish, since the must becomes so hostile to yeast so quickly.

Equipment and Software / Re: Food-grade buckets at Lowes
« on: March 10, 2012, 12:14:17 PM »
5 gallon buckets are good for brewing 3 gallon batches.  You brew many 3 gallon batches?

I do, actually. I like making 3 gallon batches when I don't have time to brew outside, and I have to use my regular stove-top.

Also, depending on what yeast I use, I can get away with 15% headspace volume for most British and Belgian yeasts. For true top-croppers I need more like 25-30% headspace. Or you could use a blow-off tube. I also make a fair amount of 8-9 gallons batches that end up with a lot of headspace divided into two 6.5gallon buckets. So for me, 5 gallon buckets are great. YMMV and so forth.

Equipment and Software / Food-grade buckets at Lowes
« on: March 10, 2012, 11:39:42 AM »
Stopped in to Lowes the other day while waiting for my Bobcat tire to get fixed. Noticed rows and rows of white, food-grade 5 gallon buckets for sale. They also had 2 gallon buckets that looked pretty good too. The 5gal were $3.78 IIRC, and the lids were another $1.25 or so.

I love my LHBS dearly and try to support them as much as I can, but their buckets are like $15 each, and they're an hour-and-a-half drive away.

Ingredients / Re: water for Dortmunder
« on: March 10, 2012, 11:23:17 AM »
I've seen some radically different water profiles given for "historic" cities. Those profiles change over time, too. Just because one well in Dublin two hundred years ago had high bicarbonates so it worked for their stout, that doesn't mean you should try to emulate any arbitrary water profile someone listed for a city.

In my experience, trying to emulate water profiles is a good way to break something that wasn't broken. The worst non-infected beer I've ever made was a pale ale with water trying to emulate Burton.

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